Knapp Media and Technology Center has proved to be a valuable on-campus resource for students, faculty and staff with its computer workstations, audio- and video-production studios and many other up-to-date multimedia equipment and software. However, that is not everything the Center offers. For the past three years, Knapp interns have been organizing workshops on a variety of media and technology related topics, including coding, UX design and 3D printing.
Six interns from different class years and diverse majors are currently hosting the workshops program. Many of them concur that the most important requirements for a Knapp Center intern are basic skills and knowledge about digital media and technology, together with initiative and passion.
Kaylie Cox ’18, one of the interns, explained the main purposes of this program.
“The main objectives of the workshops we offer are to help students learn about different resources and programs we have at Knapp Center and learn how to use them in everyday academic setting or for personal projects,” she said.
Another intern, Michelle Lu ’18, agreed and also emphasized the need for such workshops.
“Too many people still use software like Powerpoint to make spam when they could be using way better software like Photoshop,” Lu explained.
The topics covered in the workshops are very diverse, as Knapp interns create workshops according to what they hear students are interested in learning about. For example, Lu gave several sessions on the video editing software Final Cut Pro, T-shirt design and business card design. Other workshops focused on useful skills such as making animated gifs. Last semester, “How to make a great spam” by Aubrey Simonson ’19 attracted such a substantial number of participants and received so much positive feedback that she held it again this year.
“I taught one [spam-making workshop] on basic graphic design using Canva and Photoshop, but it was so popular that I taught it two more times – once to students again and once to a group of administrators who specifically requested it,” Simonson elaborated.
For the past few years, the attendance of many workshops hovered around zero to four people per session. Most of the interns agreed that although the workshops at Knapp Center were supposed to be a valuable student resource, many students on campus are not aware of the resources that Knapp provides. However, the interns expressed positivity about the program, as they observed an increase in attendance this year.
“We’re hoping to increase our attendance even more!” Lu said.
The interns already have interesting plans for the rest of this semester and the spring semester as well.
“I am hoping to do a workshop on 3D modeling in Blender next spring, and possibly a second one as an introduction to Unity – a game engine used to create video games for different platforms,” Cox said.
Lu also plans on giving sessions on Unity while another intern, Havanah Tran ’19, will carry on her “Graphic Design” series. Yet what the interns do is much more than merely teaching workshops. They are available at the Knapp Help Desk from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday to answer questions and assist students, faculty and staff in the use of the Knapp Center’s resources.
“We also do a great deal of work directly with professors, helping them figure out how to integrate more complex technologies into their classroom and research,” Simonson added.
For instance, Cox has been helping Associate Professor of Classical Studies Bryan Burns with his Eastern Boeotia Archaeological Project in Greece.
“I’ve been working on making 3D models of an excavation site in Greece, and then that model was dropped into Unity and turned into a VR [virtual reality] experience through the use of an HTC Vive [a VR headset]. Being able to do cool things like that makes the job a lot of fun, and I really enjoy it,” Cox described.
Lu also believed that getting to understand and use new technology is definitely one of the perks of the job.
“This semester our supervisor, Jordan, took some of us to New York to organize a booth at a digital fabrication event called Maker Faire, which was a lot of fun. We get to use the time to explore and learn new software and technology, and to help others,” Lu said. She also expressed that it may be beneficial to students to take advantage of all that the Knapp Center has to offer.
“We have a lot of cool technology like 3D printers, virtual reality, 3D modeling software, the Adobe Suite, video editing software, etc. available to students while lots of students don’t even know about them! I hope more people can come and use the Knapp Center and the Knapp interns as a resource.”